That’s effectively the question being asked by Paul Goodman MP. Paul will take part in a Policy Exchange seminar this lunchtime that will discuss the recent decision of the West Midlands police to refer Channel 4 to Ofcom. The West Midlands police made the decision after they had decided not to prosecute a number of Muslims featured in a Dispatches programme entitled ‘Undercover Mosque’, broadcast earlier this year (Google video). The programme uncovered a number of quotations including:
“No-one loves the kuffaar, no-one loves the kuffaar, not a single person here from the Muslims loves the kuffaar, whether those kuffaar are from the UK or the US. We love the people of Islam and we hate the people of kufr, we hate the kuffaar.”
“Whoever changes his religion from Islam to anything else – kill him in the Islamic state.”
“Do you practise homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.”
“I don’t agree with those individuals [the 7/7 bombers], but at the same time they are closer to me than those criminals of the kufr.”
“He’s better than a million George Bushes, Osama Bin Laden, and he’s better than a thousand Tony Blairs, because he’s a Muslim.”
The West Midlands police decided that these quotations may have been taken out of context and decided that no action should be taken against those who made them. That decision will seem extraordinary to some but more extraordinary was the decision of the police and CPS to refer the programme makers to Ofcom on the grounds that they may have stirred up racial hatred.
In a letter to the Home Secretary Paul Goodman seeks to highlight the danger that in behaving in this way our police and law enforcement agencies are choosing to deal with extremist voices by effectively appeasing them. Mr Goodman’s letter (which is attached here_as_a_pdf) concludes with these words:
"This referral is likely to encourage extremists, discourage moderates (including those who appeared on the programme), damage public confidence in the CPS and West Midlands Police, compromise media freedom and undermine the Government’s stated community cohesion policy. As you know, Ruth Kelly, the former Communities Secretary, said last year that "our strategy of funding and engagement must shift significantly towards those organisations that are taking a proactive leadership role in tackling extremism and defending our shared values. It is only by defending our values that we will prevent extremists radicalising future generations of terrorists."